The Need for Freedom of the Press in Professional Journalism

By

Posted Tue, Oct 14, 2014

Steven Zansberg, esq  and Dr. Shaun Schafer, coordinator of  MSU Denver journalism program favor maintaining a professionally trained press that keeps an eye on the government. [Photo by   Brandyn Frederico]

WATCHDOGS: Steven Zansberg, Esq. and Dr. Shaun Schafer, coordinator of MSU Denver journalism program, favor maintaining a professionally trained press that keeps an eye on the government. [Photo by Brandyn Federico]

DENVER,  Auraria Campus- A debate between two intellectuals about the First Amendment and freedom of the press was opened to all Metropolitan State University of Denver students on Oct. 2, 2014.

Steven Zansberg, attorney at law, and Dr. Shaun Schafer, coordinator of the journalism program at MSU Denver, held court  in Tivoli 444 discussing whether a professional and protected press is necessary in today’s Internet age.

Zansberg took the stance that it is of extreme importance that we live in a nation containing a free press.

“We need an institutional press in order for democracy to survive,” Zansberg said.

Schafer argued the opposite, sighting Hong Kong as a working example of an area without freedom of the press.

“…Consider what’s happening in Hong Kong right now,” Schafer said. “As we sit here, there is no free press in Hong Kong, yet they are very capable of developing [what could be] an earth shaking revolution in refusing to accept the Chinese party’s decisions.”

As the debate continued it became clear that both men were in favor of the First Amendment. Even more so, both were in favor of maintaining a professionally trained press that keeps an eye on the government.

Playing devil's advocate Dr. Shafer took took the opposite stance Zansberg. [Photo by Brandyn Federico]

POINT / COUNTERPOINT: Playing devil’s advocate, Dr. Shaun Shafer took the opposite stance of Steven Zansberg. [Photo by Brandyn Federico]

With the huge spike in social media and the blogosphere, citizen journalism became a common hobby for many. Communicating about hobbies, interests, and other happenings became an easy and exciting way to be involved in the world and express opinions.

“Citizen journalists supplement the means of the press… I think they enhance and contribute to informed self-governing democracy,” Zansberg said. “My thesis is that we need a professional, institutional press to really get at the stuff that is just the day-to-day government to hold everyone’s feet to the grind, whether or not it is protected by the First Amendment.”

Zansberg explained that public affairs reporting, even the subjective Fox News and MSNBC are what help the people stay informed on governmental proceedings. With these topics comes a need for paid and trained journalists who have access and protection to maintain democracy.

“I think it is important to provide information to the public,” said Hañalina Lucero-Colin, a student in the journalism department at MSU Denver who attended the debate. “I do agree with journalists as being watchdogs.”

Countries With Free Press
(All countries vary on amount of freedom)
United States
Canada
Australia
Uruguay
Iceland
Spain
France
Poland
Sweden
Japan

About Emily Fox

Emily Pennetti is a Metro State Journalism Student in Denver, Co. She works as a cosmetologist and freelance writer on the side.

View all posts by Emily Fox

4 Responses to “The Need for Freedom of the Press in Professional Journalism”

  1. Joseph Says:

    Interesting story, all of the quotes supported your story well.

    Reply

  2. Aaron Lambert Says:

    Good job! Well-written and a good summation of the debate. Good topic to write about too.

    Reply

  3. Kelsey Hammond Says:

    I feel like this covered the debate well. The quotes were useful in helping to show people who weren’t there, what was said. I also liked in the end how you listed all the countries who have free press. It puts in perspective how many do not.

    Reply

  4. Rochelle Ball Says:

    I wasn’t there, and this gave me a good scope of what happened. Great reporting!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

*